Originally published in The Northwestern
On Sunday Muslims all over the world began fasting to observe the month of Ramadan. For the next thirty days, physically capable Muslims will forgo all food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Children, sick and the elderly are exempt from fasting.
Fasting is much more than just suffering hunger and thirst. The true spirit of fasting is to appreciate the gracious God who provides us with everything we need. It is this recognition that drives a Muslim to get up in the wee hours of darkness to pray and read Quran. It is the same zeal that arouses compassion and sympathy for fellow human beings, particularly the needy. In this spirit of compassion, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Oshkosh will be holding a food drive during the month of Ramadan to support the local food banks.
Fasting is not unique to Islam. Jews observe fast on certain days to commemorate historic events. Hinduism, the world’s third largest religion, also has a strong and well-observed practice of fasting by its adherents. In New Testament, we read about Jesus fasting for forty days, now observed as Lent by our fellow Christians. Thus, fasting is a unifying tradition across faiths.
If you are interested in learning more about how Muslims fast, please visit oshkoshmosque.org on the web to contact the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Oshkosh.